This Round

I’m sad to have to admit that the hotheads won this round. It seemed as though we were on the cusp of change for the better, change that would have benefitted all our citizens, and would have strengthened our frail democracy and institutions of justice.

In order for the voices of reason and fairness to stand together there must be sufficient trust among those voices. We came close to trusting each other, to imagining how we could work together on common goals and objectives, some of us anyway. Maybe it was never meant to be, although I still believe that someday it will happen. It’s inevitable if we survive that long.

We need each other. The good that Israel has done for the rest of the world can also benefit all of our citizens and our neighboring countries too. And Israel needs its Israeli-Arab citizens too. Close to half of our doctors and nurses are Israeli-Arab. Bedouin and Druze serve in combat roles in our army. They are among our best and most loyal soldiers. I won’t even mention the restaurants, owners, cooks, waiters, and kitchen staff and all the other businesses and workers we depend on. A few nights ago, Amnon Abramowitz, a respected news analyst, said that Israel wouldn’t last a week if all the Israeli-Arabs were to go on strike.

Our country cannot afford to have second-class citizens. It can only afford to have one class.

As for the asymmetry between Israel and Gaza, that’s absolutely true. Thank God, America, and our ingenuity for that asymmetry. The reason we need it (and it still may not be enough to protect us) is not because of Gaza, but because we are surrounded, and way outnumbered by nations who would like nothing better than to wipe our little fly-speck of a country off the face of the earth.

So, with all this asymmetry between Gaza and us, it doesn’t make any sense to me either why they would spend all their money (and they get a lot from sympathetic Arab countries) on making and purchasing missiles and building tunnels under our border fences instead of building hospitals, schools, and hotels and making it a safe and desirable place for tourism and investment. They are not stupid. A Jordanian captain I met in Columbus Ohio years ago said the Palestinians are considered to be the Jews of the Arab world. He meant that they were known to be much smarter and successful than the average non-Palestinian Arabs. So why do they initiate battles with us? What do they expect us to do? Turn the other cheek? Pack our bags and get out of Dodge?

We are very clever in the ways of war, but we aren’t very wise in the ways of peace, and that’s unfortunate because peace requires a lot of wisdom.

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